By Geoff Rushton, Penn State
UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State has made further progress on interim recommendations from Louis Freeh, whose team’s independent investigation continues, Kenneth Frazier, chair of the Board of Trustees’ Special Investigations Task Force reported on Friday.
The task force in November retained Freeh, a former FBI director and federal judge, and his firm to conduct an independent, external investigation into how the alleged acts of the November 2011 grand jury presentment related to former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky could have happened at Penn State, where breakdowns occurred and what changes should be made for the future.
“Judge Freeh and his team continue to investigate this matter fully, fairly and completely,” Frazier said. “They are well into the investigation — fully engaged in reviewing voluminous documents and electronic data, conducting numerous interviews and pursuing leads.”
The investigators, Frazier said, have to date conducted more than 400 interviews with individuals including current and former employees from numerous departments, such as academic, administrative and athletic departments, current and past trustees and others in the community.
The investigation is being conducted independent of several other active investigations by agencies and governmental authorities, and will not interfere with those inquiries, Frazier said.
“Judge Freeh and his team have interfaced with those agencies and authorities as appropriate throughout the course of the investigation,” he added.
Freeh’s team also is reviewing all University policies, procedures and controls related to identifying and reporting sex crimes and misconduct, including failures or gaps that may have allowed alleged misconduct to go undetected or not be promptly reported and addressed.
In January, Frazier announced initial recommendations from Freeh for improving organizational structures and protocol. The five categories of interim recommendations are: strengthening policies for programs involving minors; prompt reporting of incidents of abuse and sexual misconduct; compliance with Clery Act training and reporting requirements; administrative reforms; and athletics department security arrangements.
President Rodney Erickson updated the board on progress toward those recommendations in March and since then the University has taken additional steps.
Penn State has hired a Clery Act compliance coordinator to work collaboratively with various offices at the University to develop, implement and oversee programs that ensure overall compliance with the Clery Act and associated regulations at all campuses, as well as to work with various University offices to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights and Drug Free Schools and Safe Campuses regulations.
Additionally, University officials enacted a significant revision to Penn State’s Administrative Policy 39 (AD39), which relates to overseeing supervision and treatment of minors involved in University-sponsored programs or programs held or housed at any Penn State campus. Seehttp://live.psu.edu/story/59211 for further details.
Frazier added that the task force expects Freeh to make additional recommendations in the next month. He said it remains the board’s intention that at the conclusion of Freeh’s independent work, the full findings and recommendations will be made public.
“As I have stated earlier, we understand that answers cannot come soon enough for all concerned, and I assure you Judge Freeh and his team are moving as quickly as possible,” Frazier said. “However, Judge Freeh’s primary emphasis is on doing the best possible job. While our hope continues to be that the investigation will be completed by the beginning of the next academic year, the timing will be dictated by how long it takes to complete a thorough investigation.”